If a State has a bicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly or Vidhan Sabha is the Lower House while the Legislative Council or Vidhan Parisad is the Upper House. The Legislative Assembly is also known as the popular chamber. It is more powerful than the Legislative Council.
The constitution of India provides that a Legislative Assembly cannot have more than 500 members and less than 60 members. In other words, the number of members of the Legislative Assemblies of different states varies between 60 and 500. The present strength of the Orissa Legislative Assembly is 147.
Some seats in the Legislative Assembly are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. If the Governor of a state feels that the members of Anglo-Indian community have not been duly represented in the Legislative Assembly, he can nominate one member to it.
The members of the Legislative Assembly (M.L.A.s) are elected directly by voters from different territorial constituencies. For the purpose of election to the Legislative Assembly, each state is divided into many single-member territorial constituencies. The provision for double-member constituency which was there for some time in the past has been abolished.
To be eligible to contest in election to the Legislative Assembly, a person must have the following qualifications.
(a) He must be a citizen of India.
(b) He must have completed 25 years of age.
(c) He must possess such other qualifications as May, by law, is prescribed by the Parliament.
During the President’s Rule, the Legislative Assembly is either dissolved or kept under animated suspension.
Salaries and Allowances:
An M.L.A. gets Rs. 5,000/ per month as salary. He gets .Rs. 500/per day as daily allowance during the session of the Legislative Assembly or of its Committees. He is entitled to the monthly pension of Rs. 6,000/. He enjoys free pass in bus and first class Railway T.A.
The members of the State legislature enjoy freedom of speech and freedom from arrest.
No member of the state legislature is liable to any proceeding in a Court of Law for what he says on the floor of the state legislature.